London Technology Week: Celebrating London as a global tech powerhouse

In the first of his exclusive daily blogs throughout Tech Week, Russ Shaw explains why we should,with Boris Johnson, be celebrating the City’s growing tech sector

This morning’s launch of the capital’s inaugural London Technology Week is a welcome – and timely – celebration of London’s status as a global tech powerhouse.

Over the next week, more than 200 events will see 30,000 entrepreneurs, investors and developers join forces, collaborate and forge relationships, all in the presence of companies such as Google, Samsung and Microsoft.

Some of London’s leading technology sectors will be showcased on a global platform, fintech, ad tech, health tech and data tech being the most advanced and exciting.

This morning, Boris Johnson and New York’s former Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, put their support behind London Technology Week. Boris Johnson praised London’s growing technology sector and his enthusiasm is indicative of a city brimming with confidence.

But where has this confidence come from and why should we be hailing London’s tech sector? 

Firstly, recent high profile investments represent what could very well be the start of a golden era for London technology; take TransferWise, the London-based foreign exchange company which raised $25m last week in investment from the likes of Sir Richard Branson and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel having been incubated in the offices of a creative agency, Albion London.

Phrases such as ‘groundbreaking’ and ‘worldbreaker’ are often overused, but in the case of companies such as TransferWise, both have the potential to be applicable. We must capitalise upon investments such as these, and London Tech Week will only serve to encourage further inward investment in our blossoming tech sector.

Secondly, London’s tech scene is rapidly growing. The likes of IBM, Virgin Media and British Airways have committed to taking on almost 2,000 new apprentices. Furthermore it is estimated London’s digital tech sector could grow by 5.1% a year, creating an additional £12bn of economic activity and 46,000 tech sector jobs by 2024.

London Technology Week can serve as a welcome catalyst to further promote and encourage this growth – growth that will serve the whole UK and economy, not just the London tech scene.

But complacency breeds failure, and Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv are only a NASDAQ or FTSE flotation away. To ensure London stays top of its game, these sectors require nurturing – which is why Tech London Advocates is supporting sectors such as data tech at London Technology Week, through events like the Big Data Breakfast, in collaboration with WANdisco.

And for those companies that are not yet world beaters, but have the potential to become so, London Technology Week can form part of the springboard they require to develop from start-up to scale-up. Tech London Advocates has identified 10 fast-growth businesses that are going to form the next generation of London tech powerhouses – including DueDil, Unruly and GoCardless; this week can help catapult these companies to even loftier heights.

It is for these reasons that Tech London Advocates is proud to be supporting London Technology Week. Tech London Advocates is a representative cross section of London’s tech sector, a growing community of people determined to make London a global tech hub; we engage with a creative and diverse range of sectors and companies across the capital, and in collaboration with London Technology Week we can showcase London’s technology scene as the leading digital hub that it is.

Tech London Advocates founder Russ Shaw will be blogging for Startups daily throughout London Tech Week. Tune in tomorrow for more insights…

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